Seven brothers who took over and damaged Dublin pub to be sentenced


SEVEN BROTHERS who were among a group of people who violently took over a north Dublin pub and caused €90,000 worth of damage are to be sentenced later this month at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Martin (41), David (37), Brian (31), Christopher (27), Paul (26), William (25) and Stephen (24) Lawrence all pleaded guilty to violent disorder at John D’s Pub, Dublin Road, Balbriggan on bank holiday Monday, May 4th, 2009.

The Lawrence brothers comprised four Balbriggan men – David of Gardiners Hill, Paul of Hamilton Terrace, William of Milara Court and Stephen of Pinewood Green Road – along with Martin of The Dunes, Enniscrone, Co Sligo; Brian of Talbot Hall, Applewood, Swords; and Christopher of Mourne Park, Skerries.

Judge Katherine Delahunt adjourned sentencing until later this month to allow her to consider the case.

Sgt Liam Donahue told Garrett Baker, prosecuting, that the pub had been under the control of the group for about an hour and three-quarters before being reclaimed by force by the Garda’s Public Order Unit. The damage to the pub cost €90,000 to be repaired.

He said William Roe had taken the lease on the pub about 11 months beforehand and had spent about €45,000 on decorating and fireproofing the pub in that time.

Mr Roe told gardaí after the incident the scene inside the pub was “similar to a battle zone”. Sgt Donahue said there were no physical injuries caused, but William and Sinéad Roe are now unemployed as a result of the incident.

Televisions, furniture, beer pumps, shelves and plaster work had been smashed and 103 panes of glass had to be refitted. A snooker table had been pushed up against a back door to prevent gardaí gaining access.

Mr Roe told gardaí that the Lawrence family had been in the pub since the afternoon and had drunk approximately five pints each.

Sgt Donahue said Mr Roe received a phone call from a member of staff at about 6.30pm that day to say that David Lawrence, who was barred from the pub, had been refused a drink.

Mr Roe said he would come down to the pub and on his way he met a garda and told him of the situation. Mr Roe waited outside while the garda went inside. He heard furniture being smashed and people calling out “Travellers’ rights”. A barman working in the pub said that when David arrived he was aware he had been barred.

Mr Roe’s niece, Rachael McDonagh, heard David say, “F*** Willie and f*** his bar, I am the barman now”, and a female member of the group started clapping. She heard David scream, “No one is getting in or out of this pub. The next person to come in is getting bottled.” David Lawrence was observed on CCTV behind the bar helping himself to drinks.

Gardaí retreated until the Public Order Unit arrived at 8.20pm, and while they attempted to gain entry David sprayed a fire extinguisher out through a broken window. They successfully reclaimed the pub at 8.45pm.

Defence counsel for the seven men submitted that they had expressed remorse for the incident and each had brought to court sums of money as compensation which together totalled approximately €9,000.

The men had entered guilty pleas, saving the time and expense of a trial, and counsel asked the court to show what leniency it could.